The Goodman Community Center, the largest neighborhood center in Dane County, is getting even bigger. Their new Brass Works building has been completely remodeled and they are inviting the public to come out to see it at their open house this Saturday, Sept. 29, 1-4 p.m.
“This will be a fun event. It’s open to the public and we have a lot of things planned,” Becky Steinhoff, executive director of Goodman Community Center, tells Madison365. “The more the merrier. We are a community center; we want that engagement.”
The new Brass Works building is located at the historic Madison Brass Works site at 214 Waubesa Street, just across the bike path from the Goodman Center’s original building. This project was first conceived back in 2014, when a longtime supporter of Goodman saw a for sale sign go up in front of the Madison Brass Works building and notified Steinhoff.
Goodman has since restored the historic facade of the building, and built a total of over 30,000 square feet for education, employment and enrichment programming for youth and community rooms. Goodman’s Brass Works building will house middle and high school programs, beautiful community rooms and administrative offices.
“[Drummer] Yorel Lashley will be performing the welcome for the open house which will lead into a ribbon cutting,” Steinhoff says. “The doors will be open and there will be food and there will be food tastings. Each room will have young people and staff describing what goes on in those room and hosting activities.”
There will be light refreshments and rooms throughout the building will host a variety of activities – tai chi, face painting, arts and crafts, trivia, a cider press and more. Two gallery spaces will feature drawings by Erik Clark and a collection of photographs by Goodman youth taken during a photography mini-course this summer.
“We’ll have lots of activities with young people involved because this is primarily our building for middle and high school youths,” Steinhoff says. “All of after-school college, career, and employment readiness high school programs are housed here.”
At 1:45 p.m., Goodman youth and Dane Arts Mural Arts will dedicate a large mural they have created that is bringing life to a long corridor in the lower level of Brass Works.
The open house is a celebration of the completion of Phase I of the Center’s Even Greater Good capital campaign. Construction for Phase II has begun at the original Goodman building in what was the historic Kupfer Ironworks building. The original building will be reconfigured to add elementary after school classrooms, a larger food pantry, several new community rooms, an older adult lounge and a new home for the fitness center.
The Goodman Community Center’s significant growth really drove the need for the additional Brass Works building.
“We’ve really grown over the last 10 years – by about 400 percent,” Steinhoff says. “We have waiting lists for early childhood education and elementary after school. Our older adult program has grown tremendously. We’re seeing a new population and generation of older adults who are lower-wage earners who are trying to make it on social security and it’s very hard without support.
“We’ve really grown to the point where we couldn’t meet the needs of our own programming yet alone grow to meet the demand,” she adds. “That sounds crazy because we have such a big and beautiful building but we’ve gotten to the point where throughout the course of the year 36,000 people are through our doors engaging in one way or another.”
With the new expansion, the Goodman Community Center will have more opportunity to offer healthy, inclusive programs and activities to bring the community together. Goodman is always looking for new ways to embrace diversity and eliminate disparities.
“As a part of planning for this building five or six years ago our board adopted an equity and inclusion plan and all of our strategic planning and focus is through that lens so we have conscious and intentional expanded outreach inviting more diverse groups of people who don’t normally come to the center and we’ve had great response from the community,” Steinhoff says.
“Beyond creating more diversity at the center, we want to create avenues where people can actually connect and discover and discuss and get to know each other and play a more active role in creating a more equitable and inclusive community,” she adds.
Tour the beautiful new Brass Works building on Saturday, Sept. 29, 1-4 p.m. Learn about the Goodman Community Center here.